$89 Pentium Dual Core that Runs at 3.2 GHz

Conclusion

The overclocked Pentium Dual Core Compare Prices on Pentium Dual Core Processors made an excellent impression in most of the benchmarks, although it cannot beat the powerful Core 2 Duo CPUs with their 4 MB L2 cache in the gaming benchmarks and WinRAR. In fact, the Pentium Dual Core clocked at 3.2 GHz can compete with the Core 2 Duo E6750 in many of our benchmarks. Don't forget that we're talking about a $89 processor. It is safe to say that this product offers by far the best bang for the buck ever - never before could you get so much performance for so little money. But you don't have to mind going into overclocking.

The effort to get the Pentium Dual Core to the 3.2 GHz speed point is very reasonable: every modern motherboard that is capable of running a Core 2 Duo at FSB1333 speed and that supports basic overclocking features will support the 355 MHz system speed (~ FSB1420) necessary to reach 3.2 GHz with the Pentium Dual Core. We used a Gigabyte P35-DS3P, but any cheaper model of the DS3 family or similar products of other brand manufacturers should easily produce similar results.

We had to increase the CPU voltage to above 1.5 V to ensure processor stability at 3.2 GHz. We also increased the memory voltage a little bit to avoid the 10% memory overclocking leading to a stability issue. If you want to avoid running into any issues, simply stick to 3.0 GHz at FSB1333 speed. We bought two E2160 CPUs at retail and achieved similar results with both of them, but even if yours stays slightly below our target of 3.2 GHz, you still get a 60-70% overclocking margin. Clearly, that is no reason to complain, at a price point of $89.

The 80% overclocking margin on a low-budget processor leaves no doubt about the level of control Intel has over its 65 nm manufacturing process. The Pentium Dual Core reaches 3.2 GHz, and many Core 2 Duo E6x50 CPUs have been reported to break the 4 GHz barrier with appropriate hardware components, which also represents a 30-50% overclocking margin. We're curious as to how overclockable the 45 nm Penryn generation will be!

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4 comments
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  • That was an amazing chip at the day...
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  • Yep - It was this very article that caused me to buy mine, along with a G92 8800GTS. My E2160 has been running @ 3.2GHZ with the stock cooler for almost 3.5 years. I'm only now considering an upgrade.

    Both that processor and that video card have scaled so well over the years that I'm still able to run what I want at 1920x1080 with reasonable settings.
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  • I've just bought a second hand motherboard for university and it came with this CPU onboard. Remembered this article so had to look to check it was the same chip. The board has an Intel P945 chipset and supports up to 1333mhz according to the website so might be worth giving this a go.
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  • One of my all-time favorite Toms articles - used it to OC my E2180 to 3.0ghz 4 years ago and it's still running strong as my guest computer. I was just looking to upgrade the CPU to a E-6550 I found for cheap, but after re-reading this article I think I'll just leave it alone :)
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